|The Grinch, Lynchburg, VA|
a white paint bucket, one of the big ones, a few gallons at least sits on the sidewalk, concrete chipped from all the foot traffic in & out the doors.
inside all the shops are hopping, a hundred, a thousand bodies Christmas shopping---a teddy bear, new game, clothing, whatever the next big thing is this year.
'can we just go already' or resignation is a delicate balance. an old man on a bench, eyes closed & snoring bass, a couple kids ready to tickle his nose or another mischief, it's in their eyes. Bags & bags & bags, with shop names in bold.
back outside, it's in the high forties. the bread bakery is cooking by the taste of the air & by the white paint bucket a girl, maybe ten, in jeans and a holiday sweatshirt plays her cello. in black magic marker block letters, HELP THE HOMELESS.
maybe the old man is her father, she's been at it over an hour at least since we arrived & as we go. her sweet, sweet music works like an IV tapped in vein, it mourns and moves, increases heart beats & change clatters on the bard plastic bottom, muffled by dollar bills.
she nods & plays on, her fingers must hurt but she plays. what is it she's seen that makes her, play on & sets her apart?
across the asphalt, white line by white line and even after the car door closes, out the lot and even now on the couch typing this in the tree lights, my boys tucked warm in their beds and my wife snuggled beside me reading, her music kneads my heart like a cat flexing its paws, claws catching in the material.
a Christmas card to any who will listen.